Cotton output may touch record 17 million bales

Post Source: DAWN – Wednesday, 04 Nov, 2009 – By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana




KARACHI: A record flow of phutti from fields into ginneries gives rise to hopes of harvesting a bumper cotton crop but it would be too early to reach any conclusion, cotton analysts said.

The official figures of phutti (seed cotton) issued on Tuesday made startling disclosure where overall arrivals stood higher by a record level of 40.06 per cent at 7.363 million bales by Nov 1 as against 5.258 million bales recorded in the corresponding period last year.

A fabulous growth in cotton production in Sindh has surprised everyone in the cotton trade where phutti arrivals were over 51 per cent higher at 2.939 million bales as against 1.943 million bales in the same period last season.

Analysts believe that the sporadic cultivation of BT cotton both in Sindh and Punjab has resulted in sudden hike in cotton production. However, it is feared that since most of the seeds used are not certified, the ultimate results could be anybody’s guess, cotton watchers said.

Undoubtedly, so far the situation is quiet encouraging with overall production higher by 40 per cent but still it could not be stated to be a firm position for ultimate and final production figures of cotton.

If the pace of current arrivals of phutti is taken into account it would mean that the country may achieve a record cotton production of around 17 million bales this season, the analysts observed.

However, the current spike in cotton prices in the domestic market in no way supports the theory of bumper cotton crop, which should have otherwise remained under pressure, cotton dealers said.

Since the cotton economy had been operating on free market mechanism for over a decade dealers believe that surge in prices was primarily influenced by higher world prices.

Higher flow of phutti in the Punjab was also encouraging where 4.424 million bales have reached ginneries up to Nov 1, 2009, as against 3.315 million bales in the corresponding period last year showing an increase of 33.47 per cent.

It is also interesting that spinners had been active in the domestic market and purchased larger quantity at 5.435 million bales compared to 3.644 million bales they lifted in the same period last year.

Similarly, exporters also purchased huge quantity of cotton during this period strongly indicating that prices lower than world market rates have attracted them to make big profits. Last year, exporters purchased 156,930 bales only.

Despite the fact that there had been higher production of cotton by 2.108 million bales during the period under review but higher off-take left ginners with only 1.466 million bales, which stood closed to last year’s figures when 1.455 million bales were held by them in unsold stocks.

During last fortnight ginneries received 556,896 more bales at 2.315 million bales than the corresponding period last year when arrival stood at 1.758 million bales.



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